By Andrew Brandt
In a move sure to raise the ire of Sesame Street fans everywhere, the black hat SEO gangs that have been manipulating Google results for the better part of the year have seized on a new target from which they’ve launched their current salvo of rogue antivirus guano. That’s right, the lovable, giant jaundiced avian friend to child and adult alike is being used to hijack searches and rope unsuspecting users into a vortex of popups and fake scans.
They have besmirched Big Bird. And on his birthday, of all days. Have the rogue AV purveyors no shame?
Actually, they’ve just once again demonstrated that they, too, can take advantage of Google Trends, which rates the ‘hotness’ of searches for “Big Bird’s Birthday” today as “Volcanic.” It’s not surprising, really. Big Bird’s legs replaced the “L” in the Google logo this morning (in honor of the 40th anniversary of the popular character’s first Sesame Street appearance). So of course, people are clicking away at those feathered gams, trying to find out why they’re there.
The fake alerts touting the equally fake Internet Antivirus Pro warns users, through a series of browser popup alerts, that (like a fine strip of beef destined for the jerky factory) “your computer…need to be cured as soon as possible.”
The same advice we’ve given in the past prevails. Parents, also take note that you shouldn’t necessarily click — or let your kid(s) click — any old link that purports to lead to something child-friendly. The first link we saw appeared as the seventh search result on the first page of Google results. Many more appeared lower down. The text beneath the malicious result link read, in part, “Make your child s big day extra special with a personalized birthday banner!”